Inland Empire Health Plan Promotes Autism Awareness

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., April 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Celebrating Autism Awareness Month, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) wants to inspire Members and parents of Members to feel confident in advocating for themselves, their children, and family members to access the behavioral healthcare they need. The health plan supports more than 7,500 Members who are utilizing behavioral health treatment services for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related conditions. Such services may include: applied behavioral analysis, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychiatry services and more.

“Having Autism or being on the spectrum is nothing to be afraid of,” said Heather Waters, IEHP’s Manager of Behavioral Health and Care Management. “As a health plan, we want to take the stigma out of asking or seeking behavioral healthcare and encourage our Members or parents of Members to trust their gut and ask for support as soon as they spot any signs or symptoms of possible developmental delays.”

Waters shared that early treatment and recognition of symptoms, as early as one year of age and before a child enters school, can result in better health outcomes, especially for children. Signs and symptoms vary and can range from obsessive or compulsive behaviors, to poor social skills, delayed milestones, and more.

IEHP Medi-Cal Members can be referred to services and treatment for ASD symptoms by a Medical Doctor or a Licensed Psychologist. This allows Members under 21 years of age to access critically important behavioral and developmental therapies immediately, while they undergo the autism evaluation process. 

IEHP’s Internal Behavioral Health Team helps Members and their families navigate an ASD diagnosis through actively coordinating services and additional resources through partnerships with several provider groups and local agencies across the region.

Recently, IEHP collaborated with the Inland Empire Autism Assessment Center of Excellence (AAC) to provide a Member in Indio with a complete Autism Diagnostic Evaluation through telehealth appointments.

“Even with care coordination challenges like location and Member condition, the situation wasn’t impossible,” said Waters. “As the Member and their family connected with the AAC, our team checked in regularly to make sure the services were effective and to remind the family and Member that they were not alone in this journey.”

To receive an evaluation or additional services, Members are encouraged to call IEHP’s Member Services at 1-800-440-4347 and ask for the Behavioral Health Department.

About IEHP
With a mission to heal and inspire the human spirit, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. In its 25th year, IEHP is supporting more than 1.5 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plans and has a growing network of over 7,800 providers and nearly 2,500 Team Members. Through dynamic partnerships with Providers and Community Organizations, paired with award-winning service and a tradition of quality care, IEHP is fully committed to their vision: We will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health.  For more information, visit iehp.org.

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SOURCE Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)

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